UC Davis Department of Music
UC Davis University Chorus and Alumni Chorus – Jeffrey Thomas, conductor
French Romantic-period composer Hector Berlioz composed his setting of the Latin Te Deum text for a specific church (and its organ at the
The program's first half features the University of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, conducted by its director, Nicolas Waldvogel.
The Te Deum text is a traditional Latin prayer, and as set to music is a hymn of praise. Many composers have set the text, including Haydn, Handel, Mozart, Verdi, Bruckner, and Dvorák. Berlioz's setting is unique on many points. It has both a ceremonial sense (the work's grand nature honors Napoleon and the nation of France) and a query for a deeper meaning. The work's religious nature belies Berlioz's own admission that he had "long since fallen out" of the religious tradition in which he was raised. The result of Berlioz's reflections is an intensely introspective and yet triumphant work—as if expressing that the church (or concert hall) is a place where the common feelings of all people can be expressed. This idea is emphasized by the presence of the children's chorus, which was added to the existing double chorus when Berlioz heard a chorus of thousands of children (mostly orphans) singing at St. Paul, London, in 1851.
UC Davis Distinguished Professor D. Kern Holoman will give a brief talk "Berlioz's Napoleon: Thoughts on the Te Deum," which is free and open to the public, on the Saturday evening prior to the performance in the Mondavi Center's Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, at 5:00 p.m.
For more information: music.ucdavis.edu